Social Media in the Classroom: What’s keeping you back?

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Picture this: you enter the classroom, lesson plan in-hand, all the materials are ready, your students are waiting for the lesson to begin. You have made up your mind to try something new today, something you’ve been flirting with for some time now. In your computer, everything is ready; TikTok is on a browser tab, waiting to be used. However, right before you start the lesson, the jitters begin. The what-ifs are ruthless; what if they get too distracted? What if they end up using social media for fun? What if they find this attempt cringey? What if I lose them?

The truth is, the demand to integrate social media in our classroom has been loud and clear. We cannot stay behind and keep using traditional methods of teaching when our students are what feels like lightyears ahead of us. The fear most educators feel, however, is something real and, sometimes, functions as an obstacle. What keeps us back though?

The internal monologue of a teacher would most likely sound similar. First of all, there is the feeling of being in uncharted territory. It is true that social media is a field that keeps changing. Every year, social media platforms go in and out of fashion. What is a piece of cake for young children and teenagers— “travelling” from one social media platform to another—might sound like a nightmare to us, educators. The ease with which teenagers can download and install an app, set up their profile, start posting and gaining followers is truly admirable. The same process might feel daunting and scary to an older audience. Fear, therefore, is a major factor.

Let’s say that the first steps are taken. The app is downloaded, the profile is set up, everything works properly. We know what we need to do to start being active on TikTok, for example. When the practical details are set aside, then comes the question of “Will it really be worth it?”. Will my students appreciate all the effort I’ve put into making the lesson a fun experience for them? Will their parents come and see me, horrified of my new approach and ready to intervene? And, if the parents give me their blessing, will the students remember anything or just focus on the social media platform? Will they use this as an excuse to simply spend time on the platform and ignore the lesson? Will they stop taking me and the lesson I teach seriously?

All these questions are valid. All these questions are normal. Of course, we are worried. Of course, we are afraid of taking that leap of faith. However, this fear shouldn’t be keeping us back. If we give in to our fear, both we and our students will suffer from it. We must do what we ask of our students; be fearless, be innovative, be creative. Take a leap of faith. Try something new. Try and fail. Learn from our failure. Always keep evolving.

If in need of a practical guide to ease your fears and help you launch a new teaching approach, “Social media as a learning tool” is here for you. We, the Erasmus+ Subscribed project, have created a resource to guide teachers in their journey introducing social media in their classroom: Booklet – SubscribED (